Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

People think that picking a mushroom is like uprooting a plant, the woman told us.  
What you've got is the "fruiting body".  

It's like plucking an apple from a tree.  

The actual creature, 
the mycelium, 
she said, 
is safely beneath the surface.  

Today was the mushroom festival at the Nature Center.  

A fine combination of gourmet pleasures and mycological edification.

Time to climb over the back fence and start looking for the fungal delicacies of the New England forest.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Outside is all warm rain 
and wet, slippery light.

Inside is dry 
and internet connected.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monica was in D.C. yesterday, meeting with the folks at the Global Youth Leadership Institute about their efforts to start a program for middle-schoolers.

It's kind of like outward bound, but
 anchored in history and cultural diversity.
They were on the tallship Amistad doing a workshop for educators.

So Monica got to see what they do.
And they got to meet Monica,
and maybe she'll be getting drawn into their orbit as well.

photos by M.G.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's happening again.  The psychotic and kleptocratic beast whose public face is the Bush administration is gathering itself to growl into action.  The American plutocracy may be a flea-bitten lion past its prime, but it is still a lion and the other powers that be -- the elected officials, the important people, the mainstream journalists, the economists are all either part of that lion or the jackals and buzzards that follow along.

The treasury department demands that we transfer 700,000 million dollars to private industry next week -- and these dollars shall be dollars owed by the American people collectively to foreign governments or to whomever happens to have money at the moment to buy the debt that will create out of thin air.

It is bad, but it is necessary they say.

And our objections?  The million voices raised to say, "Wait, what are you doing?  This doesn't make sense!  This is wrong!  Can we at least go over the facts!" --  are like the noise of mice and sparrows and crickets in the grass -- of no consequence to lions and jackals -- except perhaps as a snack when times are tough.

In the parables a million sparrows and crickets and mice might be more powerful than a lion and a pack of jackals, but in reality, not.  And I am not hopeful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Porter and Nico and I stood upon the roof to sweep the chimney clear of last year's soot and creosote.  Nico was nervously pleased to be aloft and Porter was ecstatic (since I'm typically pretty cool to his plans to get atop the house).  He looked over the domain and said wistfully, "I wish I could come up here every midnight."  Then he fell silent, thinking I know not what.  It may be I'll have to relent despite the wear on the shingles.  I had Porter tie the knots upon the gear.  He has the knack for rope that I never have.  And sure enough his fisherman's knots held up through all the pulling and tugging and yanking as we swept that chimney brush up and down the flue.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It is 45 degrees outside this morning.
58 in the house.  
I pulled the flannel-line pants out of the bureau where they've lain folded for months.  
The rich, papery redolence of fallen leaf is what strikes you as you step out the door.  
And the blue jays grow noisy again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kiernan, Aidan and Nico were playing with leggos on the floor.  Kiernan's mother was patiently explaining to him that she had to "run home to feed the baby."  Nico stretched on the floor and deadpanned: "Well, that's pretty silly.  You should take the car."  I could see she was still in that explaining-mom mode as started to say to Nico, "No, I mean . . . " but then she caught herself and broke into laughter.  

The other woman standing nearby also laughed and remarked, "Oh, he took what she said literally!"  

 I said, "Don't take anything Nico says at face value," but I could tell she really didn't recognize that Nico was joking.  I know she herself raised an autistic child and she works with special needs preschoolers every day -- so maybe it's not surprising that she took it that way.  We all build up our own filters to be ware of, I guess.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tree swallows wove in the air a twisty pattern -- skimming and skirting the dunes and wrack of Napatree Spit.  At the dockage of Watch Hill harbor, the 200 gracile, slate-blue birds compacted abruptly into an unruly flock, circling and fluttering awkwardly between uncertain perches on swaying bayberry and dune rose.  Then they rose into the overcast sky and flew across the Pawcatuck estuary westward toward Mystic.  

May they eat a million mosquitos on their way to the hills of Honduras.

Friday, September 12, 2008


First week of school finished and the boys seem untroubled.  

They settled easily back into a routine with homework and early breakfasts and teachers to get to know.  

The boys are charming and smart is what we hear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I stood on Moonstone beach under a glowering sky.  A south wind carried cold salt-spray from the dour, restless, gray-green sea.  Clutches of ungainly black cormorants flew swiftly eastward toward their rookeries.  In four thousand million years of oceanic heaving, have two identical waves ever crashed and foamed upon the sand?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Senora Gallego."

Monica started today as Spanish teacher for Pine Point's K through 2nd grade.  There were games, some tears, a feltboard story about hermit crabs (borrowed from Debbie at church), toy crab races, and - as Nico informed me - all the 2nd-graders taught her their Spanish alphabet song.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It was the water communion at church, where each family brings a small container full of water that holds some meaning for them.  Everyone pours a little into the basin and says a few words.  Purified, this becomes the "holy water" for our congregation -- used in blessings and welcomings.  It's water from travels or from home or from a favorite spot on the seashore.  Or it is just water -- Earth blood as one man put it -- the stuff that links us all.

And we all do love water, probably because we are in essence still sea creatures.  We sweat and cry seawater.  We have calcium bones rather than the more sensible carbony wood, because that's what sea creatures build their structures of and we never broke the habit.  Our bodies' cells live in their wet, saline habitats --  in their own microcosmic ocean.  Our ancestors didn't so much leave the sea behind 400 million years ago; they learned to pick it up and carry it with them.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Non sequitur of the day:

After seeing a video clip that ended with the icon for NBC, Monica said, "Look, it could mean Nico Brown Corbin."

"I wish that it were made by MBC", he said.

"Why's that?" his mother asked.

"Cause then it would be Mechanical Boomerang Cats,"  he responded.  And he turned and walked away.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nico has followed his brother up into the trees.  

Monica says that the same thing happened when Porter was six.  
I don't remember.

The physics and the danger of this three-dimensional space are like new playmates for him -- able deliciously to terrify not only himself, but his father.

Monday, September 1, 2008

For 20, 50, 80 years 
the green leaves of trees
take in the summer sunlight
and make of it
a woody architecture.

Now felled or fallen, 
cut and split, 
the stuff is neatly stacked.

And we'll steal those tight-packed
summer days
to warm a home in winter.